TheThelma securely cradlesThe bikeToThe rack usingThe wheels. NoneedTo worry about full suspension or ladies frames fitting, as long asit hasTwo wheels(26", 700c, 29") it will fit. Works with 29erToo! Hitch rack - Work with 1 1/4" and 2" Folds up when not in use Never contactsThe bike frame Unique wheelTrays accommodate road slicks right upTo DH knobbies and now 29" mtb wheels! Weight limit - 35lbs per bike Works with 700c road and crossTires, 29" & 26" mtbTires
Strengths: We have the 2 bike Thelma on our 2001 Jeep Cherokee and it holds the bikes very well without moving around. The rack is easy to use.
Weaknesses: One huge weakness. The nut that holds the rack tightly in the 1-1/4" trailer hitch on my Jeep is retained by a flimsy plastic retainer. When I needed to remove the rtack, the plastic retainer broke, the nut just turned with no way to hold it. Now, how do I get the rack off? Chris at Saris said to push a screwdriver in from the front and jam it against the dut to keep it from turning. What? The front is welded solid. It will take a cutting torch to make an opening there. Right next to the gas tank too...
Wondering why they don't use a welded nut plate like everybody else does.
Date Reviewed: August 31, 2013
My Saris Bones was such a simple answer to a big problem that when I bought my Smart for Two I turned to them for a bike transport solution. I selected the Saris Thelma II, installed a Curt hitch and was off to the intersection of Happiness & Fun. THEN IT ALL CAME TUMBLING DOWN!
While off loading my carbon fiber road bike I noted that the rear wheel tray had cracked and indeed one side had completely snapped off......NO PROBLEM, I THOUGHT, MY SARIA THELMA II HAS A LIFETIME WARRANTY. So off to REI to have them handle the replacement of the defective part. Now to be clear, REI DID THEIR PART BUT SARIS MADE IT A MISERABLE EXPERIENCE THAT I WILL NOT PUT MYSELF IN LINE TO BE DUPLICATED IN THE FUTURE......THULE OR YAKIMA FOR ME IN THE FUTURE.
WHY? The REI manager inspected the damage, took a picture in the parking lot and escorted me back in to the store where he immediately notified Saris Customer Service of the problem and requested the part be warrantied and forwarded to his store for installation ASAP. Love that REI customer service support , BUT, upon completing his request, we hear the SARIS REP SAY, AND I QUOTE "WE DO NOT WARRANTY OUR CARRIERS AGAINIST ROUGH DRIVING!" LET ME REMIND YOU THAT SARIS PROMOTES A LIFETIME WARRANTY (THAT MEANS NOTHING) AND, AND THIS IS KEY, I DRIVE A SMART CAR .........HOW DAMNED ROUGH DO YOU GET WITH A 3, COUNT EM' 3 CYLINDER CAR THAT'S LESS THAN 8 FEET LONG. ADD TO THIS THE FACE THAT THE CARRIER WAS ONLY SUPPORTING A CARBON FIBER ROAD BIKE!
SO THE LESSON LEARNED IS REI GOOD, SARIS BAD, DO NOT BUY SARIS PRODUCTS OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING SCREWED!
Date Reviewed: April 4, 2013
Strengths: If you have a 26 inch wheel mountain bike- shallow box style rims- the wheel cradle and supplied ratchet style straps (albeit too short for any tubeless or higher profile rim), this rack could work. You would think a company like Saris, employing engineers would realize that a 3-5mm longer strap would vesting improve their design. Selling mine and looking at other brands. I have 29er and road bikes with 50mm wheels and the Thelma just falls short in design.
Strengths: Easy to use. Holds bike securely. Rides will behind vehicle
Weaknesses: Could be alittle wider framed to for longer wheel based bikes. But my bike fits fine.
I bought this rack because of the light weight and value. It rides nicely behind my mid size crossover. My bike fits securely and does not move while traveling. I run a 2.1 kenda slant 6 and the wheel straps fit fine. I could see if you had wider tires you would want to call Saris to get a second set of straps and link them together (probably at no charge). I researched alot of racks and this one seems to have lots of value. If you are looking at the Thelma 3 I believe that rack holds the most bikes of most all hitch racks ( non frame clamping type ) using the 1.25" hitch. Most other racks that can expand from 2 to 4 bikes require a 2" hitch to use the expansion rack. At this time I have lots of confidence in the Thelma to carry my Trek Fuel EX8 without issue. Great warranty also.
a Weekend Warrior
from Dawsonville, GA, USA
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2011
Strengths: Light weight, strong, fits 29" wheels! Fits 1 1/14 & 2" hitches with INCLUDED adapter.
To me its been the best rack ever it works great on my little civic and on my lifted Tacoma. I can easily swap between and since it only weighs about 24lb it doesn't cause the civic to drag its tail around. Also it fits both 29ers easily never had a problem even when running 2.3 tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from New Orleans
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2011
Strengths: Light weight and easy to load the bikes on or off. Great fit for smaller cars and Excellent customer service from Saris
Weaknesses: The straps may be a little short for larger tires but in 2 years I have only had one problem with this rack. One of the stops cracked after 2 years but it was probably more due to my jamming a 650b wheel into the rack set for a 26" wheel. I have found that over time the the piece the holds the front wheel will bend slightly, it doesnt affect the security of the bike but it just seems a little flimsy
I have gotten a lot of use out of this rack over the years and when I needed extra straps for larger tires Saris sent them to me for free and when I cracked one the the lock stops Saris again sent me all the parts to replace it for free. Excellent rack and an Excellent company. If this rack was under $200 I would say its the best deal out there ... at $250 its a little over priced for what it is.
Strengths: Great rack. Light weight bike, does not touch car, nothing to scratch carbon frames.
Weaknesses: Straps short for Zipp 404's on the road bike
I have the rack mounted on a hitch on a Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet. The Cycle-on was a little heavy but at 26 pounds the Thelma is perfect. Easy to install rack and easy to put bikes on it. The bike does not contact the car and with this rack I can travel to races with the top down. One of a very small group of hitch mount racks that will carry a full suspension mountain bike.
Bike Setup: Kestrel Talon SL, Fuji Outland Pro, Fuji SLM 2.0 Carbon Hardtail.
a Cross Country Rider
from steamboat springs
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2010
Strengths: NO need to remove front wheels and find a place to store 'em on a trip nor worry about repeatedly dinging the disc rotors (no issues about road bike front brake rub), don't need to worry about driving into garages and inadvertently removing the 5+K bike from the roof (like a friend x 2), light weight, durable (driven over 15K miles without issues to endurance rides in CO, CA and OR), hitch mounted-still can use hatch with bikes loaded, can see all with rear view mirror that all is OK on long sojourns, quiet, swings easily out of the way, less expensive, holds both mtbs and road bikes without issue or additional adjustment, no fear incurring damage to frames or cables, lockable to the hitch and bikes with Yakima cable lock keyed with same key by ORS Racks, takes 20-30 secs to load or unload each bike (if not cable locked), incredible customer support/personnel at Saris
Weaknesses: the ratchet wheel straps are too short for friend's deeper dish CF road wheels and wheel holders are too narrow for buddies wide knobby mtb tires over 2.35"s (rarely if ever need such rubber here in SS and my Hutchinsons pythons 2.0" and wife's 2.1" Maxxis are no problem)
What a sweet all season long set up for bikes (only wish I had a 3 bike thelma rather than a 2). With a hitch mounted Thelma rack I needn't worry about entering garages, removing the wheels/lifting someones heavy p.o.s. onto the roof, damage to frames/cables, bugs, wind noise (minimal loss of mpg with our hybrid escape). Most def, have recommended to many friends/strangers who have asked about it. Personnel/customer support from the folks in WI couldn't be better (for the folks living on the west coast, equivalent to the guys at Les Schwab Tires).
Similar Products Used: tailgate/bike frame mounted p.o.s'. by Yakima and many friends bike racks/roof rack mounted with skewers.
Bike Setup: ti(that will never end up in the landfill)-Moots YBB, two Merlin road frames
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2009
Strengths: light, easy to use secure
Weaknesses: large frames don't fit perfectly
I had a 4 bike yakima hitch mount and hated it. With full suspension bikes it was a pain. took it back and got the Thelma. At first I was upset that my large frame bike would not fit, but just turned around the rear wheel mount and it works fine. Also called Saris and they are sending some extra straps because I said they weren't long enough(that was before turning around the rear wheel mount). They said just click the two together and it will be fine. It has some wobble in it but so far the bikes have been very secure. This is the first hitch mount I have used and feel comfortable with. I also love the light weight. I take it off put in the bed of my truck and lock the hardcover. Could not be happier with it. I am giving 5 chilis for value I have the Thelma 3 bike. 4 chilis because of the fit of a large frame. but it still works.
Similar Products Used: saris bones, saris roof rack and yakima hitch mount
Bike Setup: stumpjumper fsr
a Cross Country Rider
from Toronto, Canada
Date Reviewed: October 8, 2009
Strengths: Easy to install and remove, wheel tray folds down for compact storage, pretty stable rack, easy to load and unload bikes, light weight (down side is can't hold up weight)
Weaknesses: No access to tailgate with bikes on (but which one does except Thule Revolver)
Ratchet strap for the wheels are poorly design and cheap
Wheel size specify bike carrier (I manage to fit a 24" kids bike on to a 26" carrier tho) - no 29er
Material will not last long for everyday usage
No security system
Will not work with bikes with front fender
Weight limit means no sub $200 bikes and no DH bikes
I use this system on a friends vehicle and recommended it to him due to the price ($240 CAD) and carries three bike. Note this review is for the 'Thelma 3'. Most hitch bike carrier with no contact to frame only holds two or with the add on to four bikes but that cost like 4x the money!
This will be a good rack if you ride a couple times a month (which is what my friend do). I myself ride 4-5 times a week in peak season and this rack will not last. The strap system also sucks which will get quite annoying if you use very often.
The wheel size specify tray can be rig. I rang up Saris USA and a couple of the local dealers and they said it will only fit specify wheel size (26" for mine) but I was able to fit a 24" on with something holding up the front wheel. It will NOT fit a 20". You will need to buy the kids version which Saris do offer (2 adults, 1 child bike).
Overall, a good rack for the price of occasional users only.
Then it comes another issue, weight limit. If you ride occasionally or use it a couple times a year for family picnic, going to camp/park, you probably won't have a superlite racing rig. That means you have to watch the weight of your bike. If you use it for your DH bike, you also have to be careful of the weight limit.
In conclusion, Saris has build a rack for good value and pretty practical but I don't see the target customer.
Similar Products Used: Many Thule roof mount and truck mount racks
Yakima Roof mount racks.
Bike Setup: too many...Ventana, Niner, Santa Cruz .... etc
a Weekend Warrior
from wausau wisconsin
Date Reviewed: June 1, 2009
Strengths: looks , simple to use ,light weight
Weaknesses: will not fit large frame bikes with 2.35 tires or greater. Had to return the rack.
There needs to be a disclaimer on the box. This rack is not for large frame (26 inch) mountain bikes. We clled the company and they tried to get use to strap the tire on the side of the bracket, this would only leave the strap holding the wheel. Not something I, nor the guy driving behind me , would like to see. Look elsewhere.
a Weekend Warrior
from Calgary, AB
Date Reviewed: March 6, 2009
Strengths: -Zero bike frame contact
-Tight hitch mounting
-No wheel removal required
-Perfect for road bikes, great for XC bikes
Weaknesses: -Folds up mighty tight to the rear bumper
-Trouble with tires greater than 2.3
-often seats have to be lowered to accommodate handlebar of other bike
-35lb single bike weight limit
For anything other than a heavier AM, FR or DH bike this rack works extremely well. Its easy to get on and off the car, holds the bike tight and will not damage your bike's frame. It can work with 2.3 and greater tires, so long as you deflate the tyre, load the bike and re inflate the tyre in the rack. I have driven my car in a track situation with a 30lb bike on the rack without issue. Yes, this is not usual for a rack, but it is a heck of a test.
Similar Products Used: -this is was my first hitch rack but I have used multiple roof racks
Bike Setup: Santa Cruz Superlight and Trek Madone
a Cross Country Rider
from Austin, Tx, USA
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2009
Strengths: looks good. good design.
Weaknesses: straps too short for 29er wheels, Hitch piece too tall for swing open rear hatches
Nice looking rack that is very modern and doesn't touch the bikes frame. The front wheel holder in the locked position will not hold a 29er wheel so I leave it unlocked in order to strap the front wheel in (1 strike). Website shows the rack on the back of a Lexus GX470 which is what I have so it should work on that vehicle, right?? I even called before purchasing to make sure.... Wrong.... You can't open the rear door since it swings out instead of up like most SUVs. I had to design & have a receiver adapter made to drop the entire rack down 3" so that I can open the rear door with the rack installed. (strike 2) This bike rack costs more than it should considering the materials used to make it. I like the rack but it definitely could use improvements/options for 29er people. Otherwise, rack works good for roadbikes & 26" mtn bikes.
Bike Setup: Intense Spider 29er, Spot Longboard 29er SS
from Augusta, Georgia
Date Reviewed: September 9, 2008
Strengths: Easy to load and off-load bicycles, never touches the frame; keepsbikes from rubbing each other or truck; no need to pad between bikes.
Weaknesses: need to make modifications to wheel holders for certain mountain bike wheel types; rachet straps can bea little annoying
This is no doubt the best rack I have ever used. I can load or off load three bicycles in under 60 seconds. Once the bikes are on I never worry about them falling off, and trust me, I have had a $4000 mountain bike fall of my truck using a different rack. With this one I never worry about losing a bike. This is probably the last rack I will ever need. If you want an easy to load, lightweight rack that makes life simple, BUY IT
How good of a rack is the Saris Thelma 3-Bike?
I have a 1.25" Receiver, Class 1 hitch in my sedan. The Saris Thelma has a 31lb/bike rating (no problem by me... i ride XC/Road bikes and won't be carrying more than 1x DH bike at a time.
I mostly worry about carrying 3 bikes and cruising at 60mph on ... Read More »
I bought the rack and am now finding that i have to let the air out of the tire just to get my commuter bike on. Road bikes fit fine and the 26ers fit fine. Is there a better way? or should I just forget about a 29er for now.Read More »
Anyone using a Saris Thelma with their 29er's? Saris says "no go" but I thought I saw the combination a few weeks ago at a race but have not seen it again.
Sorry it was not "that kind" of rack...:eekster:
GRead More »